Melinda Gates told her friends that she wanted nothing to do with Epstein after she met him.
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Melinda Gates told her friends that she was uncomfortable when she first met the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to the Daily Beast.
Gates was frustrated about her husband Bill’s relationship with Epstein and told her friends that she wanted nothing to do with the latter, the publication reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Friends of the Gates’ told the Daily Beast that Epstein still haunts her.
The news comes days after the couple announced their divorce. On Monday, Bill announced on Twitter that he and Gates were separating after 27 years of marriage.
Related: 3 Leadership Lessons From Bill and Melinda Gates’ Divorce
Gates first met Epstein with her husband in New York City in 2013, on the same day the couple received the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award at the Pierre Hotel, according to the Daily Beast.
An anonymous associate in the tech industry who attended events where Epstein was also a guest told the Daily Beast that Gates’ disapproval of Epstein was unsurprising.
“He just was an obnoxious guy. He almost made a point of having bad manners, not paying attention at dinner … I could see how anybody, even without suspicions, would not want to be around him,” the associate described Epstein.
Epstein reportedly claimed to be a tax consultant for Microsoft, according to a New York Times article in 2019, although a company spokesperson later refuted that assertion. Another story from the newspaper that same year reported that Bill started meeting Epstein in 2011 and did so on multiple occasions. Epstein allegedly discussed philanthropy projects with Bill and tried to pitch a new charitable fund to the Gates Foundation and managers at JPMorgan, according to the Times.
“If you ask Bill Gates [about Epstein’s sex abuse], he’ll say, ‘Oh I had absolutely no idea he wasn’t up to anything of the highest moral character.’ But I seriously doubted Epstein’s moral character,” the anonymous associate told the Daily Beast.
“The people around him [Epstein] had a varying spectrum of what they knew and what they didn’t know and how they rationalized it,” the associate added.
Bill was criticized over his connection with Epstein following the financier’s arrest in July 2019, according to the Daily Beast. Epstein was charged with sex trafficking and died in prison later that year.
“I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” Bill said in September 2019, as quoted by the publication. “Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men. I was never at any parties or anything like that. He never donated any money to anything that I know about.”